If your firm is struggling to attract and grow new business, you’re not alone. In fact, most professional services firms (nearly 80 percent) report the same challenge.
Any good business development professional knows this isn’t due to a lack of hustle on their part. The real culprit? Often times it’s limited access to the right people—the ones who make final contract decisions. That’s where relationship mapping can be a big help.
Relationship mapping for consulting firms, or any organization, works by highlighting and scoring the connections across your business network. What you get from that is a mountain of valuable insights, like your strongest relationships to key prospects, for example, or clear opportunities to nurture existing accounts.
If you’re not already convinced relationship mapping is something your firm needs, check out these three major benefits and I think you’ll be persuaded.
1. Centralize, Surface Your Customer, Prospect Data
No matter how far we go down the digital transformation rabbit hole, the fact remains that human connection is still the foundation of any business success—especially management consulting. Indeed, business development professionals in one survey were 4.2 times more like to score an appointment if they had a personal connection to a prospect.
The trouble is, a lot of organization’s just don’t know who they know—or how well. Too often, critical customer and prospect info is hidden away in a dark corner of a CRM tool (or multiple tools) or, even worse, in the brain of a single employee. This makes everything from prospecting new business to succession planning even more challenging.
Plus, because data entry can be so time-consuming, and without an obvious payoff, many leaders (about 72 percent) have a hard time getting their teams to even use a CRM tool in the first place.
But when armed with a good relationship intelligence platform, firms can skip over all these obstacles. CRM data automation instantly syncs and fills out contact records—no manual data entry required. So, CRM adoption rates and data accuracy goes up, too (as much as 90 percent with Introhive).
The result? Firms get the strategic planning benefit of detailed, up-to-date relationship maps based on the collective knowledge of all employees. Beyond business development, just imagine the marketing, collaboration, cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
2. Spot Mutual Connections for Warm Introductions
Making connections with the right people (i.e., the decision-makers) is often a struggle. Cold calling is well-known for its lackluster effectiveness—no surprise to the 42 percent of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of their job.
What most buyers really want is a referral from someone they trust. Indeed, 90 percent of buyers trust referrals from people they know. It may seem old-fashioned, but 84 percent of successful sales still start that way.
But remember, not all referrals are created equal. Just because your prospect is a LinkedIn connection with your old boss, Sharon, that doesn’t mean they really know each other. So even if Sharon was game to CC you on an intro email, it may not carry any weight. Or worse, it could damage the prospective relationship.
The best introduction is a warm introduction, a referral from someone who is legitimately familiar with you and your prospect. But drumming these up can take a lot of precious time and energy. And the connection likely lies with someone outside of your immediate circle of influence. Unless you rely on relationship mapping to do the heavy lifting for you.
Because a tool that handles relationship mapping for consulting firms captures detailed connection intel, you can see, at a glance, who in your network really knows your prospect.
And when you can quickly see your strongest prospect connections—based on factors like length of contact, most recent interaction, and type of shared activity—you can focus your attention where it matters most. Say hello to those decision makers.
3. Automate Customer Retention
Superior support can deliver customers so loyal they’re eight times as likely to give you that oh-so-important referral. But make a wrong move, and your clients might vanish wordlessly. One in 26 unhappy customers move onto a new vendor—without ever giving the offending company a chance to make things right.
Luckily, a solid relationship map, bolstered by relationship analytics, can help keep your consulting firm in clients’ good graces. Connection strength measurements and instant visualizations make it easy to spot a waning relationship—with some (like Introhive) even delivering proactive email alerts highlighting concerning relationship trends.
Map Out Stronger Relationships
If your business development team is feeling the pressure to maintain and grow existing accounts, as well as bring in new business, now is the time to explore relationship mapping.
It can help you break down information silos so you can make the new connections you need to move your firm forward, faster and easier, and make your current clients even happier.